muted tones

february 03

this entry is from february 03. click here for more information about the curator, and to hear the finished work.


january 20th, 2003

So that was a quick four months. One day it’s the start of fall and sunny and I’m jamming out ambient dub style in the attic of 65 Alberta, looking forward to many weeks of productive collaboration with Mr. Brad Crowe, next thing you know it’s the dead of Canadian winter and 25 below (that’s Celsius, muthaz) and Josh D. is warning me of the impending deadline of my Muted Tones curatorial duties and whaddya know, Brad and I haven’t gotten together ONE GODDAMN TIME since Belmont Milds session #1. Circumstance and lethargy have kept the prawjekt on the backburner but necessity and emergency came along just in time to get our collective asses in gear.

Last week we got together for session #1, which involved — out of necessity — actually committing something to tape. Since a whole season has passed since our last/first engagement, I have only the sketchiest recollection of what we worked actually sounded like, let alone how any parts might have went. Thankfully, Brad’s sequencer has a photographic memory, so all his synth + beats components have been safely locked away from the ravages of entropy. Brad says he’s been tinkering with our two jams during his apparently bountiful free time, and I like the results when he plays them for me. The first song is driven by a loop of some funky live drumming Brad played on his roommate (and co-Anti DJ Syndicate-r) Jason’s kit, nice and loose and room sound-y, along with some sweet synth swells. After warming up from the trek northwards with some damn fine Bodum-brewed java, I jam along on my trusty P-bass and come up with some variations on a heavyweight bassline, which we structure into something resembling, well, a structure, and lay it down. Despite having to go through a Fender guitar amp, I get a surprisingly deep, depth-charge bass tone. The other tune Brad plays I don’t have such an easy time grasping, the beats are a little too broken for me to play along to, so instead Brad cues up another track which features a more bell-like synth tone and a scratchy rhythm track that also incorporate some nice sampled Fisher Price xylophone. For this, I plug in Brad’s hollowbody and, in one take, jam out some sparse, minor key Velvet Underground-style guitar action that takes the tune in quite a different direction, much to BC’s (and my) satisfaction. The session ends on a positive note, we are happy with the day’s results and wander down the icy street to the Gem for a couple of pints. Our prawjekt still has no name, the best (but still far from passable) moniker we can come up with is to fuse our respective “surnames” into Dovercrowe. Uh, yeah.

A week passes, and with the deadline ticking, we reconvene at Alberta St. for a quick Monday afternoon overdub session. Brad has added some compression to my bass on tune #1, and some heavy ‘verb to the geetar on #2, which now suddenly reminds me of Labradford — spacey and mournful. We drop out the rhythm track for most of #2, since the guitar and xylophone aren’t always in tune with one another, and as such the song sits in a nice minimalist place — reminding me of Main’s idea of “drumless space.” We decide this one doesn’t need anything else. I unleash the melodica in a couple of spots on #1, and it takes a few tries before I hit it — I ain’t no Augustus Pablo, ya know — but eventually I get it down smooth. I want to add a xylophone part on the Fisher Price but it doesn’t record so well, so I play it on the “toy piano” setting of B.‘s Yamaha Portasound keyboard. The Belmont Mild/Dovercrowe trax are now ready for mixing, which will commence on Saturday, which gives me two days to get the finished 10-minute meisterwork to Mr. Dumas…

On the walk home, my feet feel like two solid blocks of ice.



january 21st, 2003

pablo velvet bradford ? crowecourt johnnybrad? muted mainlines of dubby fender body hollow?
My ears are a curious yellow......

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